The Big Orange Splot

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“The Big Orange Splot” by Daniel Pinkwater is one of my favorite little books! It’s wonderfully quirky and unique. In the beginning, all the houses on Mr. Plumbean’s street are the same until a seagull drops a paint can on his roof to make (you guessed it!)… a big orange splot! Instead of fixing it, he gets some more paint and gets to work until his house looks like “all his dreams”. At first the neighbors are mad but one by one he wins them over until all of the houses in the neighborhood have been changed to reflect their owners’ personalities (Find it Here)!

This book is just begging to be tied to some sort of art/design project. I love to tie it in with architecture units, but it’s also a great “get-to-know-you” activity, and it would fit in well with any sort of unit about being yourself.

We always start by discussing what makes them unique and how they would incorporate that into a building. Sometimes we talk about elements of different houses, or use a visual survey form to come up with ideas for windows, doors, and other architectural elements they can incorporate. I like to have the kids design their dream houses by drawing on white or beige construction paper with black crayons, then filling in the colors with watercolor.

It’s such a simple activity but the results are always, always stunning.

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How would you use this book? Would you have your students/children build their dream house in 3D? Do you have an idea for a different art process? Let me know in the comments!

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